Auction 904: Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

Federal Communications Commission, Wireline

Program Type:

Subsidy

Eligible Geography:

Nationwide

Summary:

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is a Federal Communications Commission program designed to close the digital divide in the United States by investing billions of dollars in the construction of rural broadband networks.

The budget allocated for this funding initiative amounts to $20.4 billion, which will be awarded over a 10-year period to winning providers after the auction process is complete. The RDOF will be split into two distinct phases:

Phase I
Up to $16 billion will be made available to providers during this phase, which will likely last several years. Phase I will exclusively include census blocks that are completely unserved by an existing broadband provider, and is currently underway.

Phase II
$4.4 billion, alongside any remaining Phase I funds, will be allocated during this second and final phase of the RDOF. Phase II will include remaining areas not completed in Phase I, as well as census blocks that are “partially serviced”.

Eligible Recipients:

Internet Service Provider

Eligible Recipients Detail:

Internet Service Provider

Eligible Purpose:

Last Mile Connectivity

Eligible Purpose Detail:

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support recipients must:

-Offer commercially at least one voice and one broadband service meeting the relevant service requirements to all locations within the awarded area in the following timeframe: 40% of the required number of locations in a state by the end of third year of support and an additional 20% by the end of the fourth and fifth years of support
-By the end of year six, revised location totals will be announced: If there are fewer locations than originally estimated by the cost model, support recipients must serve the revised number of locations by end of year six. If there are more locations than originally estimated by the cost model, support recipients must serve the cost model-estimated number of locations by the end of year six and must serve the remainder of locations by the end of year eight
-All support recipients must serve locations newly built after the revised location total but before the end of year eight upon reasonable request
-Offer at least one broadband and voice service at rates that are reasonably comparable to the rates for similar service in urban areas. The FCC uses its annual Urban Rate Survey to determine the range of rates that are reasonably comparable.

Excluded Programs:

Census Blocks that already received support from the Rural Utilities Service or another FCC program.

Other Eligibility Criteria:

The Commission made eligible for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction census blocks where no provider is offering, or has committed to offering, either via the CAF II auction, the USDA ReConnect program, or state-specific programs, service of at least 25/3 Mbps (based on Form 477 data).

Note/Additional Resources:

https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/rdof-phase-i-dec-2020/

https://www.fcc.gov/document/additional-data-file-and-updated-gis-data-available-auction-904

https://www.fcc.gov/implementing-rural-digital-opportunity-fund-rdof-auction

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-launches-20-billion-rural-digital-opportunity-fund-0

https://www.fcc.gov/document/chairman-pai-tees-rural-digital-opportunity-fund-vote

https://www.fcc.gov/document/wcb-guidance-location-reporting-carriers-receiving-caf-support